Since 1959 Shoei has been kicking ass and saving lives with premium handbuilt helmets. Sixty years of helmet building experience has bred a meticulous process that combines the very latest in technology with consumer feedback, modern testing practices, and advanced materials.

Shoei X-Fourteen

The flagship model of Shoei's premium helmet lineup, the X-Series has earned the respect and praise of many of the world's top road racers over the years, and the all-new X-Fourteen is the next generation of this high-performance pedigree. Developed using rider input from the world's top road racing athletes like Marc Marquez and Bradley Smith, careful consideration was given to every detail of the new X-Fourteen. - From Shoei-helmets.com

To deliver a fair and balanced assessment, I first need to address that I have been sponsored by and was fortunate enough to wear Shoei Helmets while racing from 2009-2014. This said, I have owned many brands of helmets and currently have a dozen lids from all different brands such as Arai, HJC, Bell, Shark and Icon. While I can make an argument that all the brands listed make a great product and have their own feature and benefits, this isn't a comparison article and is meant to be a chronicle of my experience with this high-tech helmet and brand.  

This X-Fourteen has been through 11 states and on dozens of different motorcycles. (2019 COTA-MotoGP)

How does it Fit?

Snug. The X-Fourteen is an engineered race helmet designed to give the most in ventilation and aerodynamics. The shell is molded in the commonly used intermediate-oval shape. Like most tier one performance helmets, the interior is a moisture wicking "Max-Dry" material that is soft to the touch and keeps your head and face as dry as possible. This helmet is designed for speed and when you meet those speeds, this helmet stays remarkably still. A trade-off for this high-speed stability is that the interior padding can be firm and if you're not accustomed to it, or if you are wearing it for a solid six hours, it can slowly become uncomfortable.

The interior is well-built and for most riders over engineered. Not only is the liner removable, washable and able to last the miles, it is adjustable. That's right, you are able to make subtle changes in the angle at which the helmet sits on your head in order to receive the maximum benefit of the vents, aero and visor.

Adjustability is allowed in the cheek and head liners. 

Aerodynamics and Style

I have owned the X-Eleven, X-Twelve and now this X-Fourteen and there is one thing they all share in common - just looking at this helmet is putting you at risk of a speeding ticket. The X-Fourteen simply looks fast, but this helmet isn't all show and no go, it is purpose-built and wind tunnel tested to be the ultimate in high speed performance.

Early rendering of the Shoei X series of helmets. (Photo cred: 1991 movie, The Rocketeer)

Before I elaborate, we must first define "wind-buffeting." This term describes the sensation that occurs around the 120-130 mph threshold and is air pressure that is disruptive to your environment. An example of this is opening one window of a car while driving down the interstate and getting that negative pressure helicopter sound.  

As stated before, this helmet is stable. In fact, it's an eerie sensation to be upwards of 180 mph and have it be calm. The first time I wore this helmet on track, I immediately noticed the difference between the X-Fourteen and other premium helmets I have worn. It was the first that didn't move, lift or distort on me when crossing that 130 mph threshold. Shoei accomplishes this by mounting a large spoiler and several winglets to the rear of the helmet, giving the overall shape a teardrop look. To keep the level of safety as high as the performance, the spoiler on the rear is separate from the helmets shell, which allows it to "break off" in the event of a crash and to prevent it from grabbing and twisting your head and neck.

Large spoiler on the rear keeps this helmet smooth in the wind at all speeds

Ventilation

Safety, aerodynamics, weight and ventilation are my top criteria for a high performance helmet and boy, does this thing flow air. Huge venting in the chin bar, brow and crown of the head keep you cool as you go down the road. The air can actually be felt like a slight breeze across the top of your upper lip, across your temples and circulating at the top of your head.

The noticeable vents are not the only reason why this helmet flows so much air. Shoei uses a two-piece EPS liner (foam inside helmet that absorbs crash energy) that serves two purposes. One, it's dual density allows for more energy absorption upon impact. Two, it creates a channel between the two layers to allow more airflow to pass through.

Face Shield

The X-Fourteen is a state-of-the-art helmet packed full of features, so why should the face shield be any different? Here are some of the highlights as offered from Shoei on their CWR-F Race Shield:

  • Protects from 99% of the sun's damaging UV rays
  • Innovative new ribs on top and bottom edge improve rigidity and eliminate bending
  • Exclusive, patent-pending Vortex Generators reduce air friction
  • All-new double shield locking mechanism prevents unwanted shield openings
  • Provides a flat surface to accommodate racing tearoffs
  • Comes equipped with Pinlock EVO fog-resistant system

While I cannot comment on the shield's aerodynamics (my wind tunnel is currently in the shop) I can comment on how bad ass it is to come with both the Pinlock insert and posts for tear offs. If Pinlock is new to you, it is a simple shield insert to create a fog resistant system (like a dual pane window) and it works really well.

Even the shield on the X-Fourteen is designed to slip through the wind.

To take it one step further Shoei not only offers tinted, Pinlock-equipped shields, they make a photo-chromatic Pinlock shield. This shield transitions from dark to clear depending on your riding conditions. Not having to worry about the tint of your visor before heading out for a ride can really spoil you. The visor is as good as a clear, as good as a light smoke and as good as a dark smoke tint. The transition happens very quickly and almost unnoticeable.

In the photos below, you see I ran a two-inch thick strip of tape along the very top of the face shield. My work commute involves me riding into the sun both in the morning and afternoon with direct sunlight impairing my vision. Having this strip of tape acts like a sun visor in your car. I do not take any marks away from this helmet because of that circumstance, or how I chose to resolve it.

Conclusion

Whether you are riding to work, competing on the race track or trying to complete your Star Wars cosplay, I recommend the Shoei X-Fourteen as a premium option. Is it overkill for the street? Maybe. Is it a bad ass lid that does everything well? For sure.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Ventilation
  • Aerodynamics
  • Adjustable Liner
  • Pinlock, Tinted and Photo-Chromatic Shields Available
  • Looks Super Cool

Cons

  • Firm "Race fit" (based on your riding needs and comfort criteria)
  • Premium Price
  • Might get pulled over while parked
  • You don't have one yet